Erik Libby, founder and CEO of The To-Do Dudes, returned to Matanzas High School last month to speak to students in Julie Davis’ marketing classes and Cambridge AICE travel and tourism class.
The students were enthralled by his remarks, Davis said, because the young entrepreneur is practically one of their peers. He graduated from Matanzas, himself, just three years ago. Now he runs a successful business with a mission of helping students like themselves get started in their own entrepreneurial careers.
“The fact that he was only a few years older was a big shock to them,” said Davis, Matanzas’ marketing instructor and DECA advisor. “It kept them interested, for sure. It became more doable. He had quite a few ask if he was hiring.”
The To-Do Dudes helps people with their to-do lists, performing household chores such as moving and lifting, raking and weeding, cleaning gutters, planting, mulching and rock placement, bush removal, window washing, picture and mirror hanging and just about anything else that’s in the realm of high school and college students’ abilities, Libby said.
The To-Do Dudes’ clients are mostly senior citizens and busy business professionals.
“We’re there to be the smiling, energetic helping hand for your projects,” Libby said.
The To-Do Dudes has 17 active field workers and an eight-person administration team. They are all high school or college students or recent graduates.
The members of the administrative team are getting business experience while they are still going to school. Dylan Long, a 2022 Flagler Palm Coast High School grad and University of Florida student is the lead tech developer. Cameron Coates, a 2020 FPC grad, is the general manager.
Operations Advisor Bailey Russell graduated from Matanzas last year and is currently on the baseball team at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Caris Pless, a senior at Matanzas, is the director of marketing. There are also several team leaders who recently graduated from high school.
We wanted to set up our company as a vessel to jumpstart the careers of high school and college students. We really clung to that mission, teaching teamwork and accountability and providing opportunities. — ERIK LIBBY
“We wanted to set up our company as a vessel to jumpstart the careers of high school and college students,” Libby said. “We really clung to that mission, teaching teamwork and accountability and providing opportunities. Even our field workers are learning about leadership and communication with the customers. Sometimes, the customers provide mentorship.”Libby came up with the idea for the business in May of 2020, shortly before he graduated from high school during the COVID year.
He was helping his grandmother do yard work and before he knew it a stream of neighbors at the Hammock Dunes Club asked if he would do work around their homes.
“Five people came up to me in one day,” Libby said. “I thought, there’s a business here.”
He started his business while he attended Stetson University. Once he found his passion, he said, he shifted from a business administration major to a double major in entrepreneurship and professional sales.
Libby graduated from Stetson last December and has been working on the business full-time ever since.
The To-Do Dudes charges $29 per worker per hour. They have completed over 2,750 projects for over 750 customers in the Flagler County area. Libby said they plan to form a new team in Ormond Beach mid-year.
When he spoke to Davis’ classes about marketing and teamwork, he told them that just three years ago when he was sitting in one of their seats, he was not ready to start a business.
“When I was in their shoes, I didn’t have too much self-confidence. I didn’t have the ability to speak to people, to get them aligned. It seemed so far-fetched to start a business,” he said. “In a lot of ways, I’m still uncertain about myself. I’m still learning every day.”
“It’s always exciting,” said Davis, “for alumni to come in and tell their success story. Erik was helping out his grandma, and an idea sparked. It shows you can be anywhere when a big idea hits you.”